Los Angeles, CA

L.A. bans homeless camps near schools as city officials approved new law

Josue Torres
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On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted 11–3 to adopt a ban on homeless encampments in public spaces within 500 feet of schools and childcare facilities. This came after demonstrations caused the council to adjourn for the second day in a row while the issue was up for discussion. This was the third and final vote on the proposal by the council.

This topic has generated a debate. Last week’s conference had homeless rights activists voicing their worry that the ban would not help eradicate homelessness in LA.

The restriction would control and forbid homeless camps in the city within 500 feet of schools and childcare facilities.

This new ban will modify the city’s ordinance that governs homeless encampments and forbids their establishment in public rights of way in specific areas of the city.

Its detractors claim that it does little to address the core causes of homelessness, with many asking where they can now be relocated.

After being approved, the ban will take 30 days to become law.

What is LA’s ordinance regarding homeless camps?

No matter if the sites have been designated for enforcement, the amendment broadens the regions where camping and sleeping are prohibited.

Within 10 feet of a loading dock or driveway, within 2 feet of any fire hydrant or fire plug, within 5 feet of any operational or usable entrance or exit, in a way that obstructs any activity for which the city has issued a permit, or in a way that restricts accessible passage as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, or anywhere within a street, including bike lanes, are examples of these places.

In addition, the legislation already protected public rights of way within 500 feet of libraries, parks, daycare centers, and schools, but only if each particular place is designated by the council for enforcement.

The amendment prohibits all camping within 500 feet of any school or childcare facility.

Additionally, encampments and camping are prohibited by local legislation within:

Within 500 feet of a recognized overpass, underpass, freeway ramp, tunnel, pedestrian bridge, subway, wash or spreading ground, railroad track, or any other location where unsheltered camping or using tents is incompatible with safe passage.

Within 1,000 feet of a facility that offers refuge, safe sleeping, safe parking, or navigation centers for those who are homeless, and that was built after January 1, 2018.

The legislation also permits the city to ban encampments for a maximum of a year in places where it’s considered necessary.

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